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  1. #1

    Default Tenant Obligations for Maintaining a Suitable Temperature

    My question involves landlord-tenant law in the State of: Massachusetts. In MA, unless a tenant pays the heating bill, the landlord is required to maintain the heat between 64 and 68 during most of the year. Similar laws exist in other states eg NY. My question is, what if a tenant leaves windows or doors wide open? I don't notice any allowance for this scenario in the code, 05 CMR 410.00, but maybe there are some regs I'm unaware of. I am curious about this both as a tenant who has at times wanted to enjoy warmth someone else is footing the bill for and fresh air at the same time; and as a landlord who thinks there must be some duty on the tenant's part, that the law surely can't expect a landlord to require minimum heating no matter what the tenant does. (Indeed, the code that I am reading doesn't even make allowance for the scenario that the tenant does not want the heat to be at 64 and actually turns the thermostat done or shuts down the radiator.) Does anyone have any idea how inspectors or courts look at this situation? Thanks.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
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    Default Re: Tenant Obligations in Maintaining Suitable Temperature

    You're referring to the state sanitary code which provides the standards with which an owner must comply. It has nothing to do with the landlord tenant relationship which is a matter of contract and/or landlord-tenant statutes.

    Indeed, the code that I am reading doesn't even make allowance for the scenario that the tenant does not want the heat to be at 64 and actually turns the thermostat done or shuts down the radiator.
    I suggest you give up thinking about ways to mess with the landlord. Tenants who mess with the landlord and cost the landlord money are subject to eviction, loss of security deposit, lawsuits, and trashed credit.

    Beyond that I have no idea what the point of your post is.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Tenant Obligations in Maintaining Suitable Temperature

    Quote Quoting adjusterjack
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    You're referring to the state sanitary code which provides the standards with which an owner must comply. It has nothing to do with the landlord tenant relationship which is a matter of contract and/or landlord-tenant statutes.
    If you mean to say, MA allows a landlord and tenant to contract around the sanitary code, what are you basing that on?

    Quote Quoting adjusterjack
    View Post
    I suggest you give up thinking about ways to mess with the landlord. Tenants who mess with the landlord and cost the landlord money are subject to eviction, loss of security deposit, lawsuits, and trashed credit.

    Beyond that I have no idea what the point of your post is.
    I can't imagine what is confusing you about my post. Let me re-state the question succinctly. A landlord in MA is required to keep the temperature above X degrees. Is this obligation mitigated by willful conduct on the tenant's part that lowers the temperature, or is the obligation absolute?

    I am hoping for an answer based on the regs and or MA common law.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Tenant Obligations in Maintaining Suitable Temperature

    Quote Quoting jason_farnon
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    A landlord in MA is required to keep the temperature above X degrees. Is this obligation mitigated by willful conduct on the tenant's part that lowers the temperature, or is the obligation absolute?
    The willful conduct of the tenant, over which the landlord has no control, would be an obvious defense to an allegation of a violation.

    Common sense ought to tell you that but if you want regs and/or common law, well, I'm sure that there is a law library somewhere in your city.

    I still don't know what the point of your post is.

    Are you now, or are you going to, mess with the temperature setting in the place you rent?

  5. #5
    Join Date
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    16,474

    Default Re: Tenant Obligations in Maintaining Suitable Temperature

    Quote Quoting jason_farnon
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    If you mean to say, MA allows a landlord and tenant to contract around the sanitary code, what are you basing that on?



    I can't imagine what is confusing you about my post. Let me re-state the question succinctly. A landlord in MA is required to keep the temperature above X degrees. Is this obligation mitigated by willful conduct on the tenant's part that lowers the temperature, or is the obligation absolute?

    I am hoping for an answer based on the regs and or MA common law.
    Lets look at this from a common sense standpoint.

    The only person that can make a complaint about the landlord not keeping the heat at a required level is the tenant. Therefore if the heat is not at the required level because the tenant wants the window or door open, or because the tenant has turned it down, then obviously the tenant is NOT going to complain.

    If the landlord is unhappy about the heating costs because the tenant is leaving the window/door open then the landlord will take steps to evict the tenant.

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